To move or not to move : Factors affecting the career mobility of engineers

University essay from Högskolan i Jönköping/IHH, EMM (Entrepreneurskap, Marknadsföring, Management); Högskolan i Jönköping/IHH, EMM (Entrepreneurskap, Marknadsföring, Management)


Background: The most important resource of today’s companies is human resources. This has lead to a vast literature in the field of Human Resource Management, and within that are the fields of motivation and career management. Given the importance of technology intensive companies’ and the fact that engineers are increasingly dissatisfied and recognized as being difficult to manage a part of the literature have focused upon management of engineers. In this it is widely ac-cepted that engineers need special treatment, however, literature is not complete and a part which, up until now, has gained little attention is the one concerning career mobility.

Purpose: The purpose of this thesis is to identify the inducements and obstacles to the career mobility of engineers.

Frame of Reference: The first part of the theoretical framework covers motivation, in which the authors focus on McClelland’s Content Theory of Motivation, given its close connection to need for achievement, a central aspect in career mobility. The second part deals with previous research on management of engineers. Based on the Frame of Reference the authors construct the Career Mobility Model, which serve as a foundation for subsequent structure and interpretation.

Method: In order to fulfill the purpose of the thesis the authors chose a qualitative research method, and conducted twelve semis structured interviews. The results were then analyzed in the light of the theoretical framework.

Empirical Findings: The empirical findings consist of interviews with engineers of different ages, employment time and stages of their career. The interview results are organized based on the theoretical framework to aid forthcoming interpretation.

Analysis: In the analysis the authors apply the empirical findings on the Career Mobility Model, thus interpret the different obstacles and inducements to career mobility. The authors’ interpretations reveal a clear excess of obstacles compared to inducements at the company participating in the study.

Conclusions: By creating a challenging work situation and offering continuous education companies can create a good foundation for career mobility. However, without a uniform career management program combined with visible career routes and established communication channels a company will lack critical aspects of in-ducements to career mobility. Moreover, technical companies need to remember that the best specialist may not always be the best manager, given the many ob-stacles a specialist focused manager can induce.

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